If you want to take more natural and holistic approaches to wellness, you might find yourself researching home remedies and DIY solutions. While there are plenty of natural methods that work for healing wounds or relieving stress, you should be cautious before trying some home remedies.
Some folk remedies have merit, but others cause more trouble than they’re worth. Still more are downright dangerous. What should you know? Here are eight wellness home remedies that can do more harm than good.
1. Tea Baths Turning Yellow
You might have read about celebrities taking tea baths to absorb the beneficial effects of various herbs through their skin. But be careful which blend you choose.
A good soak is therapeutic with or without tea, but some herbs — like chamomile — can amplify the relaxing effects of hot water. Others, however, aren’t the best to use on a porcelain tub, like turmeric. While this root herb has mighty anti-inflammatory properties, you shouldn’t soak in it to ease body aches and pains unless you want to end up with a mess. It often stains everything deep yellow.
That includes your skin. People who have made turmeric face masks often recoil in horror at their reflection, worrying they’ve become jaundiced. Unless you want to spend the next few days scrubbing your skin, give this wellness home remedy a pass.
2. Kiss It and Make It Worse
Your precious little one runs up to you, crying and sporting a fresh new scrape that’s starting to ooze. What do you do? Chances are, your immediate reaction has less to do with your medicine cabinet and more with kissing the wound to make it “better.”
As natural as this feels, it can actually cause some harm. The human mouth can contain more than 700 types of bacteria — not what you want to introduce to your child’s raw wound. Instead, your best bet is to wash the boo-boo with a soft cloth, mild soap and water. You might lose the sentimental feeling, but you know you’re still acting with love.
3. Making That Cut Feel the Burn
Another wellness home remedy you should pass on when you or your child injures themselves is the satisfying sizzle of peroxide bubbles when they hit the open wound. While hydrogen peroxide will kill germs, it’s indiscriminate — it wipes out the healthy cells that your body needs to heal and regrow, too. The same goes for rubbing alcohol.
What should you do? Covered cuts heal faster, so apply a Bandaid or a sterile dressing to protect your child’s skin as it heals. You can dab on triple antibiotic ointment first, but use a Q-tip, not your finger. Putting your flesh on the applicator can potentially spread infection the next time you use the tube.
4. Fueling Up Those Head Lice
Head lice can be a nightmare to get rid of, especially when it infests your whole home. You may be willing to try anything to banish those bugs. While there are many old wives on how to get rid of lice, one is particularly dangerous – gasoline.
Although it may sound ghastly, a well-known folk remedy advises using gasoline to kill head lice — please don’t. Doing so is extremely dangerous. Beyond the obvious fire risk, these chemicals contain fumes that can cause nasty symptoms like nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fainting and dizziness.
If you want a more natural method, try tea tree or coconut oil and a small comb. Brush through the hair gently, and avoid toxic DIY methods.
5. Grabbing the Ipecac
Ipecac is a widespread folk remedy to treat children who have swallowed something they shouldn’t have.
Once upon a time, even doctors recommended this wellness home remedy. Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that parents not keep this in their homes and manufacturers no longer make it. That’s because, while ipecac syrup does induce vomiting, it doesn’t stop the poison from doing harm. Sometimes, it worsens matters by causing severe chemical burns when a child regurgitates a caustic substance.
What should you do? Contact Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or chat through their website. They will direct you to the right course of treatment and guide you through the 911 call if necessary.
6. Swallowing a Briquette
You might have heard of using activated charcoal to soak up toxins. There’s nothing wrong with such a mask when applied externally to your face. These products can peel away blackheads and leave your skin satisfyingly smooth.
However, you should stick to topical applications. Some people recommend taking charcoal internally to clean toxins — only it doesn’t work. Instead, you end up with a wicked case of constipation or a bowel obstruction that sends you to the hospital. The other unpleasant symptoms you may experience don’t hold a candle.
7. Egg Whites for Burns
If you burn your hand on a hot pan or a candle at home, you may not want to run to the emergency room for treatment. While not every burn will need intensive care, you should be cautious about treating it at home. Common home remedies for burns include pouring egg whites on the affected area.
However, egg whites can contain bacteria, including salmonella. Pouring eggw whites on injured skin can lead to infection. Instead, stick with cool water to relieve the pain.
8. Mixing Supplements and Medications
There are many supplements and vitamins on the market that use natural ingredients and herbs. While they may seem harmless if they’re labeled organic or natural, you should still be careful.
It’s wise to have a conversation with your doctor when you discuss your other medications. Why? Some herbs interfere with the effectiveness of various prescriptions, including birth control and antibiotics.
While a “natural” remedy may seem appealing, you don’t want it to cause more harm than good. Do research before trying any new supplement and be aware of potential side effects.
Stay Safe While Practicing Home Remedies
Please think twice before believing in that wonder cure you read about online. While some folk remedies have merit, others can do more harm than good.
Avoid the wellness home remedies above that can lead to unwanted effects. Sometimes, it’s not worth it to give it a try and see what happens. A word to the wise is enough.